RBS Trader Whose Instant Messages Clearly Show Him (Allegedly) Engaging In Libor Manipulation Not Going Down Without A Fight

One thing that most people probably agree on is that having their instant messages, e-mails, and phone call transcripts end up court would be cause for at least a little embarrassment. Everyone’s thrown in an emoticon they aren’t proud of, some of us have used company time to chat with significant others about undergarments, and the vast majority of workers have spent a not insignificant amount of the workday talking shit about their superiors. Of course, the humiliation gets ratcheted up a notch in the case of people who ‘haha’ (and in extreme circumstances ‘hahahah’) their own jokes* which, just for example, involve habitual Libor manipulation. Tan Chi Min knows what we’re talking about:

“Nice Libor,” Tan said in an April 2, 2008, instant message with traders including Neil Danziger, who also was fired by RBS, and David Pieri. “Our six-month fixing moved the entire fixing, hahahah.”

And while having such an exchange become public would be tremendously awkward for most, you know what’s really ‘hahaha’ about this whole thing? That 1) Tan was the one who wanted people to read the above, which was submitted as part of a 231-page affidavit earlier this month and 2) He’s trying to use it as evidence that he didn’t deserve to be fired.

The conversations among traders at RBS and firms including Deutsche Bank AG illustrate how the risk of abuse was embedded in the process for setting Libor, the benchmark for more than $300 trillion of securities worldwide……Tan, the bank’s former Singapore-based head of delta trading for Asia, [is] suing Britain’s third-biggest lender by assets for wrongful dismissal after being fired last year for allegedly trying to manipulate the London interbank offered rate, or Libor.

Tan, who ‘allegedly‘ tried to manipulate the London interbank offered rate, also included this conversations as part of his defense:

“What’s the call on Libor,” Jezri Mohideen, then the bank’s head of yen products in Singapore, asked Danziger in an Aug. 21, 2007, chat.

“Where would you like it, Libor that is,” Danziger asked, according to a transcript included in Tan’s filings.

“Mixed feelings, but mostly I’d like it all lower so the world starts to make a little sense,” another trader responded.

“The whole HF world will be kissing you instead of calling me if Libor move lower,” Tan said, referring to hedge funds.

“OK, I will move the curve down 1 basis point, maybe more if I can,” Danziger replied.

And this:

In another conversation on March 27, 2008, Tan called for RBS to raise its Libor submission, saying an earlier lower figure the bank submitted may have cost his team 200,000 pounds.

“We need to bump it way up high, highest among all if possible,” Tan said.

Tan also asked for a high submission in an Aug. 20, 2007, instant message to Scott Nygaard, global head of RBS’s treasury markets in London.

“We want high fix in 3s,” Tan said in the message. “Neil is the one setting the yen Libor in London now and for this week and next.”

Also this:

“It’s just amazing how Libor fixing can make you that much money or lose if opposite,” Tan said on an Aug. 19, 2007, conversation with traders at other banks, including Deutsche Bank’s Mark Wong. “It’s a cartel now in London.”

And this philosophical one, for good measure:

“This whole process would make banks pull out of Libor fixing,” Tan said in a May 16, 2011, chat with money markets trader Andrew Smoler. “Question is what is illegal? If making money if bank fix it to suits its own books are illegal… then no point fixing it right? Cuz there will be days when we will def make money fixing it.”

The defense rests.

RBS Instant Messages Show Libor Rates Skewed for Traders [Bloomberg]

*Although actually people who do this probably don’t even have the good sense to be ashamed of themselves.

(hidden for your protection)
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38 Responses to “RBS Trader Whose Instant Messages Clearly Show Him (Allegedly) Engaging In Libor Manipulation Not Going Down Without A Fight”

  1. I Love NY says:

    The Lake George Steamboat Company will offer a Libor Fixing themed cruise on the The Minnie-Ha-Ha, an authentic Paddlewheeler. This 1 hour cruise will offer the only complete tour with a Libor Fixing theme of historic and scenic Lake George, The Queen of American Lakes.

    –NYS Department of Tourism

  2. guest says:

    How can some money manager in Iowa can figure out how to cover his tracks for almost 20 years, but this jackass can't even have the goddamn common sense to not talk about illegally fixing the libor on office communicator??

  3. Voyeur says:

    I'd love to be a fly on the wall during the Dealbreaker Ethics Committee meetings. Actually, I'd love to be a fly in Bess's pants.

  4. Guest says:

    How do people not know (care?) that this is being reviewed?
    If you're doing something illegal, don't make the evidence so painfully obvious.
    That's like driving drunk down the sidewalk and being surprised you get stopped by a cop.

  5. guest says:

    Nice marmot.

  6. guest says:

    At least use some sweet code names like Raj did in a chat room.

  7. Guest says:

    Lesson Learned: Use "jk" after blatantly true statements to create reasonable doubt. #More uses of jk other than hedging bets against a failed digital attempt to obtain a nude pic from a girl you meant at a bar the night before

  8. güest says:

    Fantastic Idea!!!


  9. RBC Lawyer says:

    Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I'm just a caveman. I fell on some ice and later got thawed out by some of your scientists. Your world frightens and confuses me!

    Sometimes the honking horns of your traffic make me want to get out of my BMW.. and run off into the hills, or wherever

    Sometimes when I get a message on my fax machine, I wonder: "Did little demons get inside and type it?" I don't know!

    My primitive mind can't grasp these concepts. But there is one thing I do know – In a firm where the people (UK government) are the largest shareholder, and trader(s) at the firm have sold billions of dollars of Libor based CDS, CDX, synthetic and securitized assets and is net short rates, it’s in the best interest of the people for him to manipulate Libor.

    Thank You

  10. Kerrang says:

    In related news, former RBS trader Neil Danziger has joined The Misfits based on his claim of being more Danzig than Danzig.

  11. SwissHedge says:

    I cant get past the "fly in Bess's pants" comment……

  12. RBS Head of HR says:

    The BBA needs to be castigates for letting banks like RBS even be polled for Libor.

  13. OlivierCFO says:

    OMG! I've read a lot about the extremely unpleasant turnover at RBS, but this has finally removed the scales from my eyes.

    I found several interviews with the new CFO Van Saun, e.g.…. I really don't envy him for his job. Poor man.

  14. Noreaster says:

    Is that rug he's wearing made of lycra or horsehair?

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